dmexco: The Programmatic TV “Holy Grail”

It’s an advertiser’s dream to deliver targeted content via programmatic. And while the industry has certainly made progress, there are significant obstacles to overcome in order to seamlessly integrate programmatic into TV advertising.

Marlene Grimm, analytics manager at TVSquared, is speaking on this very topic tomorrow at dmexco (11:30 a.m.-11:50 a.m. in the Speakers’ Forum). If you’re going to the event, be sure to attend (and say “hi” afterward!); if you’re not, here’s a quick look at her session:

It’s fair to say the TV ad industry is on the cusp of something truly revolutionary in terms of programmatic. However, current hurdles have to be addressed:

  • Legislation Concerns: Legislation surrounding the TV ad industry is complex. Each country in which programmatic trading is to be rolled out faces legislative restrictions on the content aired. Privacy is also a concern, as there’s a fine line between accessing anonymous data and data considered to be PII.
  • Inventory: The primary mechanism for delivering to “targeted” inventory is via MVPDs. Out of 15 minutes per hour of total ad content, U.S. MVPDs are granted just two minutes to sell directly to advertisers. These timeframes make it difficult enough to trade via programmatic. The lack of inventory is largely due to broadcasters’ fears that they’ll lose content control, as well as substantial amounts of revenue.
  • Operational Challenges: The very nature of programmatic is that the whole process – selecting a spot, agreeing on a price and delivering ready-to-air content to the broadcaster – takes place in a matter of milliseconds. With TV, all of these millisecond elements are problematic.

If we can agree on the rules governing programmatic, inform and reassure broadcasters and refine technology, then the programmatic TV dream can become a reality.

In the meantime, TV advertisers can leverage today’s sophisticated analytical technologies to better target customers, measure TV’s impact and optimize campaigns for maximum efficiency. While the programmatic TV “Holy Grail” is some years away, TV is an optimized marketing channel – just like digital – providing advertisers with a broad reach, as well as the precision to target the right customers, in the right places and times for the greatest response.

TV’s Digital “Kicker Effect” – Part 1

The average American watches 4+ hours of TV each day – and 90% have digital devices in-hand or nearby while viewing. Reach and frequency make TV a powerful tool for advertisers, but the rise of second-screen usage has only increased its efficacy.

Whether we’re aware of it or not, all of us digitally interact with TV. We turn to search, websites and apps to learn more about the things we see/hear on TV ads. This is what we mean by TV’s digital “kicker effect.”

At TVSquared, we see TV drive – literally every minute of the day – as much as 10x the baseline traffic through digital channels for our customers. And while we can talk “kicker effect” all day, don’t just take our word for it. There are many objective studies that prove it too, which is why we recently published an ebook on the very topic.

The ebook takes a look at the impact of TV ads on various digital response channels, and shares the most recent third-party research. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Website Traffic: Studies have shown consumers visit an advertiser’s site within minutes, even seconds, after a TV spot airs.
  • Search: TV ads significantly influence search spikes and, in some cases, drive up branded search by 80%.
  • App Activity: Apps account for more than half of all digital time spent, and TV ads have been found to increase app installs between 56-74%.
  • Social: It’s no surprise that TV drives social, but even we were surprised by just how much. One 2016 study found that 20% of social media brand engagements were driven by TV ads.
  • Emerging Channels: Evidence is building around TV’s influence on text and voice response – two emerging marketing channels that advertisers need to consider.

Download the free ebook, “TV’s Kicker Effect: Drive Digital Response Via TV Advertising,” to learn more.

In part two of our Kicker Effect blog series, we’ll discuss what this all means for advertisers, and share tips for optimizing TV campaigns for digital response.

What Data-Driven Marketing Means to Me

“Data-driven marketing” is certainly in the running for one of the industry’s phrases of the year. But what does it really mean?

In advance of his panel at next month’s PI Live, the editors at PerformanceIN asked Blair Robertson, our chief analytics officer, that very question. Here’s what he had to say:

What do you see as the biggest advance in data-driven marketing recently?

Measuring and optimizing TV like digital.

Major brands have reinvested in TV due to digital issues – transparency concerns, click fraud, even fake news sites. TV doesn’t pose the same brand-safety risks; advertisers have much more control. And, with advances in data analytics, TV campaign performance can be measured and optimized in real-time.

A few years ago, this wasn’t possible, but today’s TV is now a fully optimizable channel. The marketing possibilities are endless.

What’s your vision of ‘perfect’ data-driven marketing?

The “Holy Grail” is accurate, fast, cross-channel, cross-device attribution. It’s knowing the exact contribution that every marketing channel, online and offline, played in the customer journey. Then taking those insights to create a powerful media mix designed for maximum response.

This can be done by channel, with different degrees of efficacy, but there’s not an all-in-one solution yet. The industry is getting close with increasingly advanced marketing mix models (MMM) and multi-touch attribution (MTA) though.

What’s stopping us get there?

The evolution of media, and how it’s consumed, is happening so quickly. Technology needs to catch up; get ahead of it. There’re also regulatory, privacy and security concerns to consider. But we’re getting there.

In the meantime, marketers need to find ways to optimize every channel. For TV, it’s with same-day spot performance by day, time, program, genre, network, creative, etc. Understanding what’s working and what’s not, marketers can make in-flight changes to maximize response.

Without giving too much away, how are you approaching the subject of data-driven marketing at PI LIVE?

The digital ad space has had its fair share of trouble recently, but advertisers still enjoy its benefits of real-time measurement and optimization. At PI Live, we’ll be hosting a panel exploring how digital has influenced the TV ad industry, and how TV has risen to the occasion – providing an equivalent and, at times, even better level of measurement and optimization.

The 6-Second Ad: What it Means for TV

Last Sunday, Fox ran several 6-second ads during the “Teen Choice Awards.” Depending on the performance of these type of slots, there could be major implications for live event advertising in 2018 – most notably, sporting events.

In theory, these “mini ads” move in and out of programming without disrupting the content like traditional, four-minute ad breaks. Viewers, already engaged with the show, do not have time to leave the room or even skip these type of ad. The potential to reach a very large, engaged audience is there.

Think about American football. The NFL requires 20 commercial breaks during a game, each lasting 1-to-2 minutes. But there are plenty of other times when the game isn’t actively being played – if a player is injured, during huddles or reviews. Down time like that could create scores of new advertising slots.

For advertisers, it means being able to reuse digitally created content for TV and possibly reaching wider, more engaged audiences. In some ways, this feels like the end-cap sponsorships that are popular in the UK (5-second mentions before commercial breaks). While the 6-second slot may not be ideal for direct response, it could prove valuable for brand awareness, especially as a non-intrusive frequency play.

For networks, it’s more inventory, especially at the local and addressable levels and, ultimately, revenue.

These ads will not take the place of traditional ad breaks; and for scripted TV, they are not even an option. But for live events, they could result in shorter traditional breaks. It’s an innovative step by Fox – now they have to prove to advertisers that it really works.

Non-Profits and the Giving Side of TV

The proliferation of media has introduced new channels, new devices and new ways for people to learn, communicate and give. For non-profits, the face of the traditional donor has changed drastically, now encompassing a diverse group that spans generations. To complicate things even more, this massive group consumes media differently and donates through a variety of channels.

Look at generations, for example. According to Marts & Lundy, Millennials prefer to donate through social media, while Boomers and Gen X like more traditional outlets (phone, website, email, etc.) and rapidly maturing Gen Z trends toward mobile apps.

Despite this challenge, in addition to ever-present issues around economic and political environments, there are positive signs for the industry. Total giving in the U.S. is expected to increase by 4.3% this year, monthly donations (the Holy Grail for non-profits) are increasing each year and donor retention is at 45.9%, higher than it’s been since 2008.

So, how can a non-profit effectively reach donors and take advantage of this growth? A large part of the answer is leveraging the one constant among very large, very different donor audiences: TV.

In a twopart series for the Huffington Post, we explore how non-profits are leveraging TV (and its real-time measurement and optimization capabilities) to drive both online and offline response rates. We also talk with Richard Slater, business director at M.i. Media, about some real-world things non-profits can do today to get the most out of their advertising efforts.

Whether you’re part of a non-profit or not, this series is a good read: check out Part 1 and Part 2.

TV and the Art of the Feedback Loop

In the July issue of Response, our CTO, Kevin O’Reilly, discussed TV’s crucial role in today’s media feedback loop.

What exactly is a feedback loop? It’s the process of action-information-reaction – how an advertiser reaches consumers, how consumers learn about the brand and the steps they take to engage (whether it’s sales, app downloads, site traffic, etc.). While not a new concept, the proliferation of media has made the feedback loop a powerful tool for advertisers.

Today, people consume media via multiple channels and devices, often simultaneously. Close to 90% of TV viewers have second-screens in hand or nearby, which helps to produce real-time data trails that marketers can learn from.

The shift in the media landscape has made TV’s role in driving these loops all the more important. Especially when it comes to promoting digital response.

“The rise of second-screens and the real-time measurability of TV shorten the distance between information and reaction … for brands to take advantage of and optimize feedback loops, they have to take holistic, complementary, cross-channel approaches to their media strategies.”

The article details ways to build effective, TV-driven feedback loops, including:

  • Holistic media plans
  • Strategic calls-to-action
  • Unified campaign insights
  • Measurement and optimization solutions

To learn more about TV and its role in the feedback loop, read the full article here.

TVSquared’s “Predict” the First Platform to Automate TV Planning and Buying

Improve TV Buys, Optimize Spend and Drive Maximum Response – Anywhere in the World  

TVSquared Predict is transforming the TV planning and buying process by generating insights into which buy opportunities drive maximum response. It’s the first and only tool to quickly and accurately tell advertisers how TV will perform before ad buys are made.

By analyzing historical performance, Predict identifies the best performing networks, days, times, programs, creatives and number of spots to meet advertisers’ ROI objectives. Even if ad spend fluctuates, Predict adjusts recommendations to deliver the greatest response uplift.

“Across TV media buying, there’s always uncertainty about whether the spend will drive real-world response,” said Kevin O’Reilly, CTO, TVSquared. “Predict takes that element of guesswork out of the process. Advertisers can be confident that they are buying the best opportunities to drive ROI for their TV campaigns.”

“Predict presents advertisers with exactly what changes to make to optimize TV for the greatest response,” said Jo Kinsella, EVP, TVSquared. “Before buys are even made, advertisers can quantify the before-and-after impact of the recommendations on spend, response and CPA (cost-per-acquisition).”

Predict delivers data-driven insights and transparency to support direct brands and agencies, around the world, with never-before-seen optimization opportunities. Available from a simple user interface for anyone involved in TV optimization, Predict empowers your media to succeed.

To learn more about Predict or to request a demo, visit

About TVSquared

TVSquared is the gold-standard for TV measurement and optimization. More than 600 brands, agencies and networks in 55 countries use TVSquared to improve campaign efficiency up to 80% by measuring and optimizing TV, informing media plans and buys and realizing the total impact of media. Learn more at

Brand Safety: Digital Can Learn a Lot from TV

For the “On TV and Video” column, the folks at AdExchanger asked our CTO Kevin O’Reilly to talk about how the digital ad industry can learn from TV when it comes to brand safety.

Digital advertising has had a rough go in the last 12 months, with fraud, blocking and “fake news” issues dominating the headlines. Digital offers a lot, but advertisers give up a level of control over where and when their content runs. According to Kevin, while TV has learned amply from digital (most notably, real-time measurement and optimization), in the case of brand safety, digital needs to look toward TV.

With digital, an advertiser buys the person. With TV, advertisers buy content AND context – and they have an iron grip on their image:

“TV advertisers still have enormous power and control. That was made abundantly clear earlier this year when Mercedes pulled its ad spend from “The O’Reilly Factor” following disturbing allegations of sexual harassment against host Bill O’Reilly. More than 50 other advertisers followed suit, and despite the program bringing in nearly 20% of the network’s ad revenue, Fox ousted O’Reilly after 20 years.”

So, how can digital level the playing field with brand safety? Digital verification services are showing promise of ensuring the “safety” of sites where ad content appears. Digital publishers are also taking on more responsibility around content, with stronger curation, add-on services and filtering tools.

Read Kevin’s article in its entirety: “Digital’s Brand-Safety Woes and Lessons from TV

Calum Smeaton Wins EY Entrepreneur Award!

Congratulations to our CEO and founder, Calum Smeaton, who received the 2017 EY Master Entrepreneur of the Year award last week. The annual program honors the UK’s most successful and innovative entrepreneurs.

The “Master” category recognizes an entrepreneur who has a clear track record of success and a strong base for future growth and innovation. The judges noted Calum’s dedication, management strategies, inspirational story and TVSquared’s major growth as just a few of the reasons they chose him for this honor.

The EY Master Entrepreneur of the Year trophy


Readly UK Triples Subscriber Base with Help of TV

Readly UK, a digital magazine newsstand and one of our clients, told about their first-ever TV campaign – and it’s impressive.

Last summer, Readly entered the world of TV advertising through an airtime-for-equity deal with Channel 4. During the campaign, Readly worked closely with its ad agency and TVSquared to measure and optimize spots. In six months, Readly tripled its subscriber base (a growth of +201% YoY), increased magazine openings by 84% and delivered 7 million digital issues to customers.

The campaign was so successful that Readly Germany and Readly Sweden launched their own TV initiatives.

Check out the entire article here – it’s a great read and a true testament to the power TV can have on an advertiser’s business.

We’ll leave you with a quote from Ranj Begley, Readly UK’s managing director, on future TV plans and how their success influenced others in the publishing industry:

“Last year, we optimized TV and we know what works. This year, we plan to grow our TV presence, using real-time insights to look at brand vanity, expand into terrestrial TV, experiment with online and offline mixes and make strategic, data-backed TV buys … We work with publishers that had completely written off TV. But, based on Readly’s success, many are now seriously considering it as a major part of their ongoing marketing plans.”